Q: I would like to plant English peas but I am concerned about whether I can grow them here in the south. When would be the best time to plant them?
A: We can indeed grow English peas here in Northeast Florida but it must be done during the cooler months of the year. It is a little too early to put them in the ground now but you could start seeds inside the house or a back porch where the seedlings will receive a stable, warm atmosphere. It is also important they receive a good amount of light initially, but never direct light.
Plant the seeds in a good combination of sand, peat and composted material to encourage germination. Be sure the soil is well-drained, which means moist but not wet. Plant the seeds about 1-2 inches deep but no deeper. Cover the tops of the pots or paper cups with plastic to keep in moisture. Check the pots on a regular basis to remove the plastic as soon as green leaves appear.
UF/IFAS encourages planting English peas in the ground outside between January and March. It will take about 6-8 weeks before you will be able to begin harvesting your peas. Wando and Green Arrow are two varieties which produce well here in Northeast Florida. If you produce more than you can eat, consider freezing the excess. Attached is a University of Florida publication on how to properly freeze vegetables: http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/pdffiles/FY/FY71900.pdf